7 Things NOT To Do During Labor

7 Things NOT To Do During Labor | Baby Chick

7 Things NOT To Do During Labor

There are so many different blog posts and classes out there that teach you what you SHOULD be doing during early labor, active labor, transition, and pushing (including my own blog posts), but sometimes it’s nice to know the things that you should NOT be doing so you can really avoid some unnecessary interventions and outcomes.

Here are my 7 tips on what expecting mamas should NOT do during labor:

1. Do NOT Over Exert Yourself

So many women get super excited as soon as they start feeling those first contractions. They want to jump up and get things going! I don’t blame them. However, what they don’t know is that resting is just as important as movement when things really get started. Yes, being upright and frequently changing positions helps with your comfort and promotes better positioning of the baby (which can in turn help speed things up). However, periods of rest are equally as important. Since labor can take many hours and sometimes days, you don’t want to burn out before you can reach the end. This is why resting in between periods of activity is the best thing to do for your mind and body.

2. Do NOT Get to the Hospital Too Soon

That is, if you are having your baby at the hospital… If you’re having your baby at home, no worries! If you are having your baby at a birth center, you don’t want to get there too early either since you can get sent home. But if you are having your baby at a hospital, you definitely don’t want to get there too soon.

You want to wait as long as you can while in active labor before you start driving to the hospital. Why? If you get there too soon, the hospital staff may send you back home, which is pretty frustrating to go back and forth. (I’ve heard of families being sent back home three times before they finally got admitted!) But even worse, the hospital could keep you there even when it’s too early for you to stay and they could decide to give you pitocin or break your water to help speed up the labor process.


If you have been reading my posts, you all know that doing these things too early in labor tremendously increase your chances of having a c-section. (Unfortunately, I have had a few clients that have had this happen to them so I can speak from experience. Read why you don’t want to be induced.) So make sure that you don’t get to the hospital too soon so you can avoid being sent home as well as avoid some unnecessary interventions.

3. Do NOT Feel Stuck

When you’re in labor, don’t feel like you have to stay in one position (unless you want to). Sometimes the hospital staff will want you to stay in the bed in a certain position because they want a good, continuous reading of your baby’s heart-rate all throughout labor.


That can be incredibly uncomfortable for you and can cause your labor to become more painful and can even cause your labor to stall out. If you want to move into another position because you’re uncomfortable, go for it! It’s your body and your labor so listen to your instincts and do what feels best. The nurses will be able to work around you and keep moving the monitor until they have your baby back on the monitor.

4. Do NOT Hyperventilate or Hold Your Breath

You might think that breathing should come naturally during labor and shouldn’t be something that you have to think about. I mean you breathe in and out all day every day so what’s to think about, right? Unfortunately, that is (most of the time) untrue when it comes to labor.

During labor, some mothers can get really worked up and freaked out which cause them to over-breathe or breathe too rapidly. Which then can cause dizziness, numbness and tingling of the hands, feet, and/or face, and even fainting.


The type of breathing that you want to do is abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing. This type of breathing is beneficial because it helps with relaxation and stress relief, it oxygenates deep tissues, and it strengthens the diaphragm.

You also want to make sure that you aren’t holding your breath during labor. The oxygen that you are breathing in is also giving oxygen to your baby. If you hold your breath, your baby’s heart-rate can start plummeting which will then cause your medical team to panic and want to get baby out immediately.

We all just need to calm down and breathe. Those big deep breaths are the best thing for you and your baby. Proper breathing helps you manage the stress. Provides the best oxygenation for both you and your baby. It prepares your diaphragm to get ready for pushing a baby out.


5. Do NOT Look at the Clock

If a laboring mama has decided to have a natural birth, she can be so focused on her breathing, relaxing her muscles and everything that she’s doing to progress that she might not even pay attention to the clock. (Which is good!). If a laboring mom has decided to have an epidural. She can be taking a nap or be talking to her friends and family or watching a movie that she doesn’t even think to look at the clock. (Which is also good!).

However, if you’re wondering why things are taking so long (whether you have an epidural or not), it never helps to look at a clock. Looking at the clock will only discourage you. If it’s only been a few minutes and you thought it was an hour or more you could get pretty upset that baby isn’t here yet. So don’t look at the clock. Baby will be here soon.

6. Do NOT Be Bullied

You should NEVER feel like you are being bullied during your labor and baby’s birth. If anyone is trying to push you to do something that you don’t want to do or is making you feel rushed or uncomfortable. If they are being unsupportive of your wants and needs, stand up for yourself!

As I always say, this is your body, this is your baby, and this is your experience. YOU are paying the facility fees and the people around you so you should only be treated with kindness and respect. You’re the boss! The customer is always right, right?! And you should feel happy about your experience because these moments will live with you forever. So don’t settle for anything less.

Note: If you do not like your nurse or the doctor on-call taking care of you, you can always have your partner go talk to the nurse’s station. Speak to the charge nurse and get a new nurse and/or a new doctor. Don’t feel bad about it! They should feel bad that they aren’t giving you the supportive experience that you deserve! And if you do not feel like you will have the strength to advocate for yourself, look into hiring a doula.

7. Do NOT Fight the Process

I’ve had clients that have completely rocked their labor and baby’s birth. Watching them go through their birth experience so seamlessly made me question. What they were doing different compared to other women that I have worked with that have struggled.

When I asked what they were telling themselves during their labors, they said, “I kept telling myself to surrender my body to the experience and allow the labor to open my body and not fight the process. I wanted my labor to be quick so I let my body do what it needed to do.” Powerful.

In labor you will get cues from you body; pay attention to them. If a new position doesn’t feel right to you still after a few contractions, change positions. Or you feel like you need to rest, rest. Even if you feel like touch, massage, or a bath will help you get through things, ask for it. If you feel an overwhelming urge to do something, go do it. Just remember to remain confident in your ability to do this because you can do it. Don’t fight it! You got this, mama!

Are there any other tips of what not to do that you would like to share? Share in the comments below! 🙂

About the Author /

The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®


  • Courtney Coley
    April 24, 2016

    Do not have too many people in the room with you during labor. It will cause you to stress for no reason. I know from experience with my son.

    • Jackie Q
      July 21, 2016

      Oh my goodness, I cannot express the importance of this one enough! I’m a labor nurse, and far too often we have these first time mammas bring 5+ people to their MIDNIGHT induction that has to start with cervical ripening medication. NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN FOR AT LEAST 12 hours! But there they are talking and staring at mom keeping her from resting. And for patient satisfaction, GOD FORBID we kick them out!

    • Natasha
      August 30, 2017

      More of a question sparked by something I read here. I had to be induced during my first pregnancy. I’m currently expecting my second. What is different about not having induction? What Should I expect?

  • Chrissy
    April 26, 2016

    Just had my second son.
    First one was natural and second was epidural. I don’t know what was “wrong” with the epidural but I was definitely not able to talk, take a nap, or watch a movie. I feel like it just took a slight edge off the contractions but they were still stop me in my tracks strong.

    • Samantha
      October 1, 2016

      The same thing happened to me. I had an epidural when I was dilated to 8…. it never did work. I dont understand. What could’ve been the problem?

    • Brittany
      October 16, 2016

      Epidural’s work on pain receptors not pressure receptors. So when you get an epidural later in the stages of labor the contractions should be less intense, but you WON’T stop, feeling that pressure (baby coming lower in your pelvis) until you have the baby. Plus when you are ready to push it helps to know when your contracting to coordinate your push efforts. So you will have THE most pain relief when you first get your epidural and the Dr. Gives a loading bolus of medicine. The epidural pump continues to give you medicine just at a lower rate then that initial Dr. Bolus. It also works by gravity so if one side is less numb lay so that side is down and hit your button to get a little extra bolus. Or have your nurse call anesthesia to redose you.

  • AJ
    May 3, 2016

    I recommend to just relax and let the process work. If you have a birth plan let your doctor and nurses know.. I asked after I got my epidural to only have my partner in the room till it was time to push, so I could relax! I went from a 3 to and 10 in an hour my body was relaxed and then I called my mom to the room and had my beautiful little girl!

  • Dee Kaye
    May 4, 2016

    Try to relax so your muscles relax because if you tense up your muscles tense up including the ones where you want to open up for your baby to come down and out. If you tense up and those muscles tense up it prolongs your labor. Relax and rest as much as possible so you have the energy when you need it. The Lord made our bodies to do what they need to do during the birthing process. Time your contractions first before rushing to the hospital. Once they are regular, call your doctor and then they will help you decide when to come when the contractions are so many minutes apart so you are not sent back home which is hugely frustrating which is not what you need.

  • Frieda
    May 17, 2016

    I don’t agree with the “don’t get to the hospital too early”. Don’t get to the hospital too late either. I was 9 cm dialated when I got to the hospital and had my daughter within 40 minutes. The experience was rather traumatic for me and I wish I’d gotten there earlier.

    • Christine
      January 15, 2018

      I completely agree! I took my time getting to the hospital because I’d heard “don’t go too soon” about 1,000 times over the course of my pregnancy. I showed up at 9.5cm dialated and only waited to push because the nurses were changing shifts, otherwise I would have been pushing within 15 mins of parking the car. We didn’t have a chance to bring in ANY of our bags (or my birth plan) or settle into the room or get to know my nurse. It was traumatic. The nurses told me next time “do not wait!”. I wish the advice on the internet would acknowledge that some labor does moves quick, so listen to your body and watch for a contraction pattern that progresses aggressively. Don’t set women up to think that all labor is hours or days; you’ll make them second guess themselves or wait too long should their labor end up being fast!

  • Jenilee
    July 24, 2016

    Prepare your birth plan/ideas of how you want thigs to go but be flexible and do not panic if things don’t go according to plan. I had planned to get an epidural but my baby was coming way too quickly so I didn’t get it. Obviously
    I went into panic mode as this was my first and I wasn’t in favor of the pain factor. It was awful, BUT, I realized if I had stayed a little calmer and trusted my body and my instincts, I probably would’ve stressed myself, my doctor and my husband out a LOT less!

  • Justinna
    August 4, 2016

    I definitely learned that speaking up is SO important. Really, I needed to be told that it’s totally okay to yell at anyone and everyone.

    Weeks ahead of time my husband and I wrote a birth plan together. I told him that the only people I wanted in the room during the pushing was my mom and him. He expressed wanting his parents to be a part of it, and I told him they could come in just after.
    Low and behold they come wandering in just after pushing. Dad, mom …. And grandma.
    Everyone peers over at my completely open vagina and makes comments. 90-year-old grandma says “wow.. So much hair” little did I know she was actually talking about the baby, not me.
    I quietly ask my husband to have them leave because I’m having a hard time concentrating and he passes me off by saying “they want to be here, so they need to stay”
    I was horrified. And stuck. And angry.

    But I calmly proceeded because I didn’t want anything to ruin my sons birth.

    Then he starts to crown and dad in-law jumps up with his cell phone taking a video. I calmly tell him that I don’t want any video (another thing my husband and I decided ahead of time)
    Instead of putting away his freaking phone he argues “oh it’s okay, you can’t see much”

    I should have screamed. I should have put my foot down. But I stayed quiet and the resentment has grown over the months.

    • Vanessa
      August 5, 2017

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Reading your story will help me with my future delivery as I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with my first baby. Listening to everyone I now understand it’s okay to speak up for yourself and it’s no ones business to be in your room if you don’t want them to. Thank you

  • Kristin C
    August 14, 2016

    With my first son, I made my plan clear. ABSOLUTLEY NO EPIDURAL!! However, after 24 hours of labor, the doctors and nurses kept trying to push the epidural on me. My mom was my support person, as I was doing this birth on my own, and she told them to stop asking. She told them that I had made my plan clear, but also did not want to feel stuck in the bed. After that, they stopped pushing. I also had a nurse who was continuously in my face in the labor room and in delivery room. The doctors finally removed her when they saw how upset she was making me. After 36 hours of labor, and an hour and a half of pushing, I had a sweet 6 pound 15 ounce baby boy

  • Tawana
    September 2, 2016

    Yes to the not having a lot of people in the room!! My first child, my parents were out of town during labor, so to compensate they sent almost all their friends up there to support, which was great but I did not feel comfortable with them in there. They had to induce me and there were complications, so I was drugged up and couldn’t really voice my opinion. I was so mad at my husband for not speaking up for me! My 3rd is due in about a month, and I put in bold red letters on my birth plan that only my husband and I are allowed in that room!

  • Sam
    September 29, 2016

    I had a lot of people in the room with me when I was just laboring, and we got lots of compliments on how well behaved and nice everyone was. It was just me and my husband in the room when it was time to start pushing, so everyone else was in the waiting room. I would say if they’re not stressing you out, have as many people in there as you want. Just make sure they’re out of the nurse’s/doctor’s way.

  • Dea
    October 12, 2016

    I had my daughter within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital. They had gotten my IV in but not taped and secure when she made her grand appearance. They didn’t even have time to realize she was breech till she came out butt first with her little feet beside her ears. Alot of bad possibilities there. Thankfully we were meant to have her. She had no lasting effects of the birthing experiance. I feel better to be early than late!

  • Jules1994
    October 24, 2016

    Do not distract yourself with social media, or read other mothers labor horror stories, and if you’re in labour for 5 days straight make sure you bring a phone charger and snacks. also don’t overwhelm yourself with visitors the first 24 hours of your child’s birth…

  • Stacy
    October 26, 2016

    Do NOT worry about pooping! Doctors don’t care and it gets cleaned up so fast that chances are you’ll never even know you did it! Besides, it just means you’re pushing right 🙂

    • Adi
      December 24, 2016

      I needed to read this. Probably my biggest fear lol

  • Kelly
    January 3, 2017

    I have to say that while a doula is great to have (I am one myself) she can’t and shouldn’t advocate FOR you. A good doula will facilitate conversations between mothers and doctors and encourage couples to advocate for themselves.

  • Amy
    January 6, 2017

    While medically safe, I totally agree without standing up for yourself. With my first child, they told me not to push after I had transitioned. The reason being that I wasn’t completely dismayed and they didn’t want me to bruise my cervix. The pain of holding back was as bad as him crowning!! (I chose not to have pain relief.) I recently had my second baby. This time I was 9 1/2 cm. dialated. They told me not to push because the doctor wasn’t in the room yet. This time I said, “I’m pushing! I told myself I would push!” There was no way I’d let them make me go through that again. Especially without a good reason. I figured someone would catch, lol!

  • Lindsey
    November 25, 2017

    I’m new to your blog. It’s great! I’m 32 weeks with my 6th child. They have all been over due. First 11 days, second 10 days, 3rd, 4th and 5th 13 days and I was induced with the last 3. I’m really worried about being induced tgis time around. The midwives have said they don’t want me to go over 12 days overdue, before inducing me. With my 4th I had a difficult birth and narrowly escaped a c-section! When I felt ready to push, something didn’t feel right. And I asked to be examined. He was coming out chin first and to the side. So they said I had to ride it out for 2 hours to see if he got in a good position. So I had an epidural, after 2 hours it had worn off and he had got into a better position, and came out face up! Which was painful! Then I had a postpartum bleed of 1.5 litres. So they have adviced against a home birth this time because of the bleed. However, I think that the complications came with being induced! Although I disnt have any problems with my 3rd or 5th. I just don’t think number 4 was ready!
    So basically I just wondered if you have any advice on bringing labour on naturally to avoid induction? I’ve tried all the old wives tales each time! Nothing helped!
    Thank you for reading my long comment!! ☺
    P.s. I’m in the UK.

    • Lindsey
      November 25, 2017

      I mean he wasn’t ready!

  • Emily
    February 1, 2018

    I completely agree with the don’t go too early, but there also needs to be a happy medium. My sister went to the hospital three times with my niece and our hospital in a 45 minute drive one way.
    When we got home, she had laid down for maybe 5 minutes and her water broke. We ended up having to call an ambulance and when we arrived they told her not to push because they didn’t have a doctor there currently even though the baby was coming right then.
    In the end she was perfectly healthy but it’s not the birthing experience I wanted for my little sister.
    I myself am doing research on birthing centers before we start trying and discussing the options. It seems like a nice middle ground and happy welcome to motherhood.

  • Larissa Brunken
    March 12, 2018

    Breathe???? Do you know how difficult that is to remember? Good tip! But extremely hard to follow! Lol

  • Nicole
    April 12, 2018

    After having two very quick labors, I don’t recommend waiting to go to the hospital. It takes time to check you in, get your doctor there, get a labor room set up…etc. if you are planning on an epidural definitely don’t wait. I couldn’t get one my second time because I waited too long to get to the hospital. While it may be uncomfortable going back and forth in a vehicle, it also passes the time and has you concentrating on something besides just being in labor. I wish people would stop telling this to women in labor!

  • J9
    May 5, 2018

    As a nurse, please do not demand another one! We aren’t trying to bully you, but sometimes we’re just doing what’s correct and safe for the patient. In healthcare, the customer isn’t always right, sorry. The medical professionals are.

Post a Comment